Almost all kinds of devices nowadays have touchscreen displays and a stylus is often paired with a touchscreen. A stylus is basically a tool made to mimic our touch with either a conducting surface or an electrical circuit as touchscreens are designed to sense our touch and skin. Touchscreen displays, apart from being intuitive also increase our productivity and speed as it is incredibly easy to use.
There are many kinds of styluses available in the market based on the type of touchscreen displays. The most widely used touchscreen display is the capacitive touchscreen display. It basically works by altering the electric field.
Broadly speaking, the screen itself acts as a capacitor, with the inner and outer layer being conductive and being separated by an insulator. When we alter its electric field by touching the outer conductive panel or the screen with our finger or any other conductor, it detects a touch or an input to that point. We can touch the display at more than one point at the same time.
Benefits of a stylus
A stylus is a tool to mimic our touch, which can interact with the touchscreen and gives us the feel of a normal pen. Styluses can be really useful on tablets, convertible notebooks, and iPads as we can use them as our note-taking devices, and a stylus provides a natural writing experience while writing with it on touchscreen displays. There are many more benefits of using a stylus like:
- Helps us take quick notes.
- Provides natural writing experience.
- It is useful when hands are dirty.
- The pointed surface of the stylus increases accuracy.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, there are tons of different kinds of styluses available in the market meant for various types of displays and devices. In this article, I will be making a simple but reliable and accurate capacitive stylus for iPad and Android smartphones. There are mainly 5 steps involved in it, which I will be explaining broadly below.
The stunning fact about this stylus is that things required to build this stylus cost almost nothing as these things are easily present in every household. So let us start to build our capacitive stylus.
Making the $0 Stylus
A. Things Required
A few basic things are required to make this stylus. These items are easily available around you and it does not cost much. These items include:
- A tape.
- An ear wax cleaning earbud (1 is enough).
- The outer body of an old ball pen (metallic pen is preferred).
- A thin copper wire (2 or 3 single wires or a long single wire).
- A scissor.
So these are the building blocks of our stylus. Collect all these things before moving on to build the stylus, it will further simplify the process and the stylus will be ready in a minute. Once you have collected all the mentioned items, now let us move to the guide.
B. Step-Wise Guide
To build the stylus, you need to take the metallic pen and remove the refill inside to create the space, you should verify that you take a pen with a little wide mouth in front, generally, clicker pens are best for this purpose.
Insert a little length of wire into the pen from the tip
Insert a little length of wire (about 3 cm) inside the pen from the tip side and hold the rest of the wire by the body of the pen.
Insert the earbud’s tip into the tip of the pen
Cut the earbud into two pieces from the middle and insert one end into the pen as the tip of the stylus. Make sure that the insertion is tight enough and the copper wire touches the cotton of the earbud.
Wrap the body of the pen with the copper wire
With the tip being inserted, now just wrap the copper wire around the cotton and around 2 times and then wrap the rest of the wire around the body of the pen such that it remains on contact with your hand when you hold the stylus. Do not wrap much wire, 4 to 5 turns with a centimeter of space between them is enough.
Stick the end of the copper wire with a tape
Cut a small piece of tape and use it to stick the end of the copper wire to the body of the pen. Make sure that the copper wire is sticking well to the body of the pen and it is not loose. Also, keep a part of the wire still exposed to your hand contact.
Wet the tip of the stylus with a drop of water
Just use a drop of water to wet the earbud tip fixed at the tip of the stylus and squeeze the extra water off with fingers. Do not use more than a drop of water. Your stylus is now ready to be used for the next few hours, after that again wet the tip of the stylus with a drop of water and enjoy using your brand new self-made stylus.
C. Pros and Cons of the Stylus
There a few restriction for this stylus which are quite specific to some particular devices and use cases. So let us have a quick look over the pros and cons of the stylus.
- Works on almost all smartphones and tablets including iPad.
- Works quite reliably as metal is an excellent conductor.
- It costs nothing.
- Good for basic note taking and marking important documents.
- It cannot be used for the scribble feature on iOS devices.
- It does not offer palm rejection on any device.
- Needs to be wet after every 4 – 5 hours.
- The tip may need replacement after a week.
Now this stylus I built just now is impressive on almost all smartphones, notebooks, and iPads. It is basically due to the excellent conductivity of the metallic pen and copper wire. This stylus can work flawlessly on all such capacitive touchscreen displays.
On iPads, the Microsoft OneNote worked flawlessly with this stylus pen unlike the default Notes app on iPad and it also managed to avoid the issue of palm interference. You can also rest your palm on the display while writing with this stylus on the OneNote app, it is quite promising keeping the cost-effectiveness in mind. though Apple Pencil 1 and Apple Pencil 2 are very different and efficient from this stylus, our self-made stylus just works for basic things.😉
If you have advanced use cases like that of pressure sensitivity and reliable palm rejection. If you are a digital media artist, a graphics designer, or a content creator you should always look for professional styluses for better productivity and reliable performance.
Hope you liked our step-wise guide on making a stylus of your own without spending a penny. You might like our guides on creating a local home server for storing photos, music, and videos.
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